Heritage's Carafano falsely claims Obama is "refusing to modernize" nuclear arsenal and "cutting back on defense"


In a Washington Examiner column, the Heritage Foundation's James Carafano falsely claimed that the Obama administration is "refusing to modernize the U.S. [nuclear] arsenal" and is "cutting back on defense." In fact, the administration's Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) includes "significantly increased investments" to modernize America's nuclear weapons infrastructure, and each of Obama's two defense budget requests have increased the budget by billions of dollars.

Carafano's falsehood: Obama is "refusing to modernize the U.S. arsenal"

From Carafano's April 12 Washington Examiner column:

Like Reagan, Obama believes America must lead the way to nuclear disarmament. Unlike Reagan, he believes this requires an assertion of "moral" leadership, to be demonstrated simply by reducing our nuclear stockpile and refusing to modernize the U.S. arsenal. It's a false premise. [The Washington Examiner, 4/12/10]

Nuclear policy calls for "significantly increased investments" to "modernize the nuclear weapons infrastructure"

Nuclear Posture Review: "The United States will modernize the nuclear weapons infrastructure." The Nuclear Posture Review fact sheet published by the Department of Defense states: "The United States will modernize the nuclear weapons infrastructure, sustain the science, technology, and engineering base, invest in human capital, and ensure senior leadership focus. The significantly increased investments called for in the NPR will not only guarantee our stockpile, but facilitate further nuclear reductions, and help enhance our ability to stem nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism." [Department of Defense Nuclear Posture Review fact sheet, 4/6/10]

Fiscal 2011 budget request includes "the Administration's initiative to modernize the U.S. nuclear weapons infrastructure." According to the Pentagon's fiscal year 2011 budget request, "DoD strongly supports the Administration's initiative to modernize the U.S. nuclear weapons infrastructure and to add funding to the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to do that." The budget continued:

Modernization of the infrastructure is needed to ensure safe, secure, sustainable and cost-effective operations in support of scientific and manufacturing activities. It is also necessary to bolster key scientific, technical and manufacturing capabilities needed to ensure that the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile remains safe and effective while avoiding the requirement for new nuclear tests. [Department of Defense fiscal 2011 budget request]

Gates: "The NPR calls for the modernization of nuclear weapons infrastructure." In an April 6 press conference on the nuclear policy, Defense Secretary Robert Gates stated: "[T]he United States must make much-needed investments to rebuild our aging nuclear infrastructure, both facilities and personnel. I have asked for nearly $5 billion to be transferred from the Department of Defense to the Department of Energy over the next several years to improve our nuclear infrastructure and support a credible modernization program."

Gates also commented: "The NPR calls for the modernization of nuclear weapons infrastructure and the sustainment of the science, technology and engineering base which is required to support the full range of nuclear security missions. This is reflected in the president's budget request, which includes a 13.4 percent increase in the funding for the NNSA." [Department of Defense, 4/6/10]

Carafano's falsehood: Obama is "cutting back on defense"

From Carafano's column:

Thus, the first items on Reagan's agenda were building up U.S. conventional forces and introducing missile defenses. That allowed his negotiators to approach arms control agreements from a position of strength.

Obama has it backward. He started with cutting back on defense -- especially in acquisition programs. Bye-bye, F-22. [The Washington Examiner, 4/12/10]

Obama has increased defense budget two years in a row

Fiscal 2011 request increased defense budget by billions of dollars. According to the Department of Defense: "The fiscal 2011 base budget request represents an increase of $18 billion over the $531 billion enacted for fiscal 2010. This is an increase of 3.4 percent, or 1.8 percent real growth after adjusting for inflation. The DoD needs modest real growth to maintain, train, and equip the forces that sustain our wartime efforts." [Department of Defense, 2/1/10].

A Department of Defense chart:

Mullen: "This budget is 1.8 percent real growth." In a February 1 press conference, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated: "This budget is 1.8 percent real growth, and I can tell you, and if you've been through the details you can see in particular that each of the services' budget has grown." [Department of Defense, 2/1/10]

Fiscal 2010 request had "increase of 4 percent from the 2009 enacted level." As Media Matters for America documented, the Obama administration proposed increasing 2010 defense spending by billions of dollars over the amount enacted in fiscal year 2009. The administration's proposed budget for fiscal year 2010 requested $533.7 billion for the Department of Defense, "an increase of four percent from the 2009 enacted level of $513.3 billion." Also, a CNN.com article noted: "The proposed overall fiscal year 2010 Defense Department budget is almost $534 billion, or nearly $664 billion when including the costs of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The current Pentagon budget totals slightly over $513 billion, or almost $655 billion including the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts."

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, Defense Funding
Washington Examiner
James Carafano
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